Here’s what I did last year:
Produce! Pretty much every day! And many, many nights. I got to work with amazing artists. Here are a few of them:
Colony House. Formerly “Caleb.” Joe Causey and I produced their first full-length album this year. It’s called When I Was Younger. These guys write songs that have the element of surprise, always keeping you engaged with perfect little twists and turns. They hope to release WIWY sometime in 2014. In the meantime they’ve put up an EP (which I did not record—my friend Brent Milligan did it) to tide themselves and their fans over. HOWEVER, you can hear one of the tracks (maybe my favorite) that Joe and I did for them here.
Ellie Holcomb. Ellie has been stealing the show for years with her husband’s band, Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors, and has released 2 acoustic eps along the way. This year I got to work on her first full length album, co-producing it with Brown Bannister who just happens to be her dad! Brown is one of the people I admire most in the world. Ellie is an amazing singer and writer and is just perpetually delightful to be around. You can pre-order the album we made here and you’ll get the first song.
Brandon Heath. Brandon is one of those artists that just does it right consistently. He’s been on Andrew Peterson’s Behold tour with me, so we knew each other, but I really enjoyed getting to know him better this summer when we made a Christmas record together. It’s called Christmas Is Here. I got to write a lot of arrangements for this record. Full orchestras, Disney choirs, New Orleans horn sections. It was a blast. And here it is.
Slugs And Bugs. Slugs and Bugs is kids music of the very best sort and is the brainchild of my friend Randall Goodgame. I got produce Slugs And Bugs Under Where with Randall a few years back. This year we made a record called Sing The Bible With Slugs And Bugs. All the lyrics are scripture. We worked HARD to make this record fun, gorgeous, and sing-alongable and we had a blast. The African Children’s choir plays an integral role in it, which is pretty darned fun. I don’t see it up on iTunes yet, but you can always go to rabbitroom.com to find it.
JJ Heller We’re currently putting the finishing touches on a lullabies album. It features some old JJ songs done a little more stripped down as well as a few new songs. Lots of strings, horns, clarinet, pump organ, piano, guitar, and of course JJ’s perfect vocals. I turned to her at one point during vocals and asked sincerely, “Are you from the planet Sing?” This album should be out around Mothers’ Day 2014.
Ben Rector. I might be misspeaking if I say I produced on his new record. I actually don’t know how I’m credited. But I did get to help revamp a song called Thank God For The Summertime on his new album. Got to record his vocal too. And holy cow that boy can deliver a vocal.
Carousel Rogues. They’re a Maryland band. I produced their debut album a few years back. We recorded the first one like a garage band. This one has a little more polish on it and I think it works. Their main singer, Caitlin, writes great melodies and sings with plenty of swagger. Weezery guitars abound. This new record is called Seize The Day and they’re currently plotting how to release it to much avail.
Danny Oertli. Danny leads worship and is based out of Denver. He’s an old friend of mine and AP’s. We did a christmas record this Fall and it was good for my soul.
Tommie Bozich. A worship leader from Virginia Beach. We did just a few songs together. I think he might take the radio by storm one of these days.
Son Of Laughter. SOL’s Chris Slaten is from Chattanooga. We started his five-song ep a few years back and finished it this year. The writing process took a while only because Chris was so uncompromising about his songs. The end product is a set of songs with inventive, layers-deep lyrics and striking musical vision.
I bet I’m forgetting somebody! It was quite a year. My best one yet. I also got to play some shows with Andrew Peterson, take my wife to Sweden, write some strings, play some piano, and WRITE SOME NEW SONGS! I had been pretty frozen in the writing department for a while. But the thaw started at some point mid-year and I’ve got about 6 or 7 new songs I’m excited about. Now I just need to think about recording them!